George and Amal Clooney. Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel. Emily Blunt and John Krasinski. What do these celebrity parents have in common? They’ve all used parenting coaches to assist them in raising their children.
The concept of parents and caregivers seeking professional guidance to enhance their parenting skills has seen a significant rise in acceptance and popularity over the last two decades. This trend is prevalent in celebrity circles and among parents who aspire to lay a strong foundation of success for their family and have the means to pursue it.
“We think we should have it all figured out, but sometimes getting a little outside perspective can make all the difference,” says Chelsea Kunde, a professional coach and founder of Building Blocks Family, located in Scottsdale, Ariz.
While parenting coaches may be a popular choice among celebrities, they might be able to positively impact your family, too.
What does a parenting coach do?
Kunde works with a child’s parent(s) or caregivers to help them succeed in one or all of her three specialty areas: potty training, sleep, and discipline.
“My whole philosophy is that I want to work with families to create a home life that feels productive, happy, and like it’s working well,” Kunde says.”That might look different for every family. I always say, ‘What works in my house might not work in yours.'”
Another way Kunde helps parents is to enable them to get on the same page so their children see that they’re working together. Most parents have the same overarching goals, so Kunde works to break things down to help parents find that common ground.
“You’re certainly not going to agree on every little aspect all the time,” she says. “That’s just normal. I do feel like it’s common for everybody, even if you have a super solid partnership. It’s going to present as a challenge at some point in child-rearing.”
A parent herself, Kunde knows that raising children can be very vulnerable, and it’s hard to ask for help, so she tries to put what she does in perspective for potential clients.
“If my car were making a weird noise, I would get help for that,” she says. “It doesn’t mean that I have a horrible car. We might need some tweaking and extra help and support, and that’s a good thing. Getting a little outside perspective can make all the difference.”
If you think hiring a parenting coach will be like an episode of the reality show Supernanny, Kunde, who also has a Master’s degree in marriage and family therapy, can tell you it doesn’t quite work that way.
“I think it’s important to have goals with the families that you’re working with that meet their needs,” she says.
These goals are established in a consultation to develop trust and see where parents struggle. Each plan differs based on the information Kunde gathered about the family during their meeting and could include calls, texts, and emails as needed.
“Typical consultations are about two hours in length,” she says. “It’s really collaborative. Some families add on and continue to work with me and have more one-on-one coaching. Some families say they need the two hours and are off and running on their own.”
What should you look for in a parenting coach?
Kunde says parents looking for a coach should find one that aligns with their philosophy. You can look at testimonials on their website or check out their social media feeds to get a read of what services they offer, where their perspective is, and if they’d be a good fit for your family.
Kunde will often talk with parents for a few minutes to assess the situation and explain her services, and if it doesn’t look like she’ll be a good fit for them, she will tell them and offer the family a referral.
“It’s just like picking a doctor or purchasing a house,” she says. “I really do feel like it comes down to making sure you’re compatible.”
What if you can’t afford a coach?
Parenting advice has come a long way since the days of Dr. Spock, and resources are more accessible now than they were back then. Coaches like Kunde offer group consultations, in-person classes, and plenty of content on social media and websites. Many coaches now provide an online option, as well, to get more bang for your buck.
“Sometimes you just need a little tip here or a little trick there,” she says. “It’s always helpful to know that you’re able to access people that way.”